Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Vol 9 No 2 (2022)

Harm Reduction⁠— And What Keeps Us From Embracing It Fully

August 13, 2021
April 28, 2022


In this Review essay, we examine some of the latest and needed scholarship on harm reduction: Travis Lupick’s Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction (2018); Jarrett Zigon’s A War on People: Drug User Politics and a New Ethics of Community (2019); Kimberly Sue’s Getting Wrecked: Women, Incarceration, and the American Opioid Crisis (2019); and Nancy Campbell’s OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose (2020). Our authors present us with intimate windows into a diverse array of geographies, peoples, and technologies—from women’s jails, prisons, and community treatment programmes in Massachusetts to Vancouver’s downtown; from Copenhagen’s safe injection sites to prisons in Scotland. While varied in methods and approaches, these works unequivocally push for alternative imaginings to what one of Campbell’s protagonists dubs the ‘North American disaster’. Harm reduction is front and centre to these authors’ envisioning of a kinder, more loving, and more accepting future. Embracing harm reduction both requires and initiates a radical rethinking of how drug use is viewed, and our authors have given us crucial insight and analyses into how such reorientations are possible. We encourage continued scholarship on this topic, especially on non-Western options.